Everything you wanted to know about Cohort, the newest networking tool
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Everything you wanted to know about Cohort, the newest networking tool

22 Nov 2017

Cohort has entered the networking fray with a new app to help you find the most powerful connections in your contact list.

The digital age has heralded a new way to forge relationships, and with it a new way to make essential connections for your career.

Social media has become almost essential to the job search process, with sites such as Facebook and Twitter attempting to implement a job search feature and a perfect LinkedIn profile being almost tantamount to a killer CV.

Cohort is the latest addition to the arsenal of networking tools at your disposal, and explains that the world is “no longer a place where professional and personal relationships be kept separate”.

The new app, developed by Irish start-up backer Eamon Leonard and a team tucked away in a Temple Bar loft, is going toe-to-toe with LinkedIn and hopes to unseat it from the networking throne.

How it intends to do this is by tapping into a feature that other networking social networks have arguably fallen short on – not only compiling, but understanding the relationships people have.

Cohort takes its name from this core principle, that within your expansive social networks there is a true ‘cohort’ comprising the people who you’d be willing to stick your neck out for and vice versa.

When you open the app, Cohort first prompts you to either create account or join via Twitter. It then crawls your social media and attempts to identify the members of your ‘cohort’.

It achieves this by “conducting network analysis, detecting areas of interest and potential expertise, by looking at publicly available data”.

The app then highlights the people that you could trust to give you advice or ask for an introduction to someone you think may be able to help you advance your career.

The free version of the app is open to all individuals and organisations of fewer than 50 individuals, while the premium version is available to larger organisations and community cohorts.

Leonard has said the idea is rooted in a desire to effectively graph social capital, and in this case they define‘social capital’ as your ability to ask a favour of someone.

To analyse the information, Cohort’s data leader Dr Eoin Hurrell explained in a Medium post, the team created a data ingestion pipeline using Kafka, which crawls “social graphs, both actively (when a user signs up) and passively”.

The company then uses machine learning models to augment the search experience. “Semantic understanding of text with interest-focused natural language processing models is used to help understand the areas of interest a social profile describes itself with or talks about in its feed.”

The app ultimately becomes more effective the more it is interacted with, as opposed to the more data it mines from other sources.

All in all, the app is an interest-piquing marriage of networking tools and the field of data science, the former of which has arguably been crying out for some fresh innovation and the latter of which is only growing and deepening in leaps and bounds.

Updated at 4:22pm, 22 November 2017: This article was updated to clarify a statement made about Cohort’s premium plan. The article previously stated that premium membership is required if one’s network exceeds 50 people. We have clarified that it is only required for organisations that exceed 50 members.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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